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Consumers express confidence in security of electronic payments

Oct 13, 2013 Dave King

Electronic payments continue to grow in the United States, as consumers become more comfortable and experienced using online and mobile transactions. Part of that comfort level has to do with consumer faith in security for electronic payments. Although some purchasers have expressed privacy and data access concerns relating to e-commerce in the past, a new survey suggests that those fears may be giving way to robust levels of confidence.

A recent survey of 600 Texas residents by SWACHA found that consumers are becoming more confident in the security measures associated with electronic transactions. The source's Consumer Insights Survey noted that 90 percent of respondents said they have yet to experience significant issues when using electronic mediums such as debit cards or online banking. In fact, 72 percent of Texans hold no concerns about the payment technology.

Proactive steps taken by banks and payment processing firms to help clients monitor accounts were cited as the main reasons for the high consumer confidence.

More than 60 percent of respondents indicated that they receive email alerts when suspicious payments are made or account balances get low. An additional 30 percent told the source they are informed of such events via text messages. Moreover, only 14 percent of consumers in Texas reported that they do not receive any notification from financial institutions.

"This is good news for the electronic payments industry and shows that we are making great strides in ensuring that our country's payment systems are a safe and secure way to make payments," said Dennis Simmons, CEO of SWACHA. "But we need to make sure that we don't get too comfortable as cybercriminals are always looking for a new way to hack into our payment systems."

Mobile: The next frontier
One area in particular where payment processing organizations will need to step up their security measures is within the mobile sector. A recent survey of financial professionals by ACI Worldwide found that 65 percent of respondents believe consumers will demand an improved mobile payment experience in the future.

The source highlighted that corporate banking functions are being conducted via mobile channels at an accelerated rate. Cash flow monitoring and wire payments were just two operations ACI stated are becoming more mobile-focused.

If payment companies want to attract the growing base of mobile consumers and B2B buyers, they need to ensure their smartphone and tablet platforms are secure. Certainly, many of the same technologies that make standard electronic payments safe can be effective in protecting mobile data. However, new mobile-specific systems may be needed to combat the various cyber threats hackers are developing to access mobile devices.